NFL Rookie of the Year 2012: Breaking Down Race Between Andrew Luck and RG3

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NFL Rookie of the Year 2012: Breaking Down Race Between Andrew Luck and RG3
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Russell Wilson may have something to say about it, but the race for 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year has been essentially a two-horse race since April.

Since becoming the top two picks in this year's draft, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have continually rewarded the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins for taking them. Luck is the unquestioned leader of a 9-4 Colts team that's one win away from the playoffs, while Griffin may become the most scintillating dual-threat quarterback in league history.

With both men emerging as franchise stars, it's becoming increasingly impossible to distinguish between the two. Sportsbook.com currently has Luck as a -200 favorite, but anything can happen in the final three weeks.

For that reason, here is a complete breakdown of the cases both for and against Luck and Griffin III winning the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

 

The Case for Andrew Luck

Late-Game Heroics

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If you're looking for a reason the Colts have won an NFL-high eight games by one score, look no further than their brilliant quarterback. With three games still left on the slate, Luck has already set an NFL rookie record with six game-winning drives.

That's tied for the 11th most in single-season history and equal to Matt Ryan for the most this season. Luck's game-winning drives are also double that of Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers thus far.

It's even still theoretically possible that Luck could break Eli Manning and Jake Delhomme's overall record set in 2011 and 2003, respectively.

 

Untenable Circumstances

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Truth be told, Luck has little business setting records—especially ones involving late-game victories. Luck took over a team that went 2-14 last season, "stole" the job from the best regular-season quarterback in NFL history and had his coach unfortunately leave the team due to a bout with Leukemia early in the season.

Despite all of that, Indianapolis is 9-4 heading into Week 15 action and Luck has been mostly sensational. He's thrown for 3,792 yards, putting him in a position to break Cam Newton's rookie record (4,051), all while leading his team to the fringes of a playoff berth.

 

The Case Against Andrew Luck

 Turnovers

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For all of his brilliance, Luck has had a massive problem with throwing the ball to the wrong team. His 18 interceptions match his touchdown passes, tying him with Drew Brees for the NFL lead in that category.

With 10 fumbles on the season as well, Luck isn't exactly what you would call a bastion of ball protection. It ultimately won't matter as a rookie, but this is something that bears watching going forward.

 

The Case for Robert Griffin III

Dual Impact

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Simply put, you don't wear Superman socks when you run a five-second 40-yard dash. Heading into Week 15, Griffin III has already rushed for 748 yards, breaking Newton's rookie QB record, and has added six scores on the ground as well.

Alongside Newton, RG3 is one of just two quarterbacks to gain more than 400 rushing yards on the season and he has six 20-plus yard carries (tied for 10th in the NFL ).

That's all without mentioning Griffin's 2,906 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 104.2 quarterback rating—a mark that is tied for Tom Brady for best in the league and would break Ben Roethlisberger's rookie record.

Other than that, Griffin's been a complete disappointment. (I kid.)

 

Lack of Turnovers

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Remember that problem that Luck has with interceptions? Yeah, well, Griffin doesn't have that problem whatsoever.

The Redskins signal-caller has tossed just four passes to the other team this season, which is tied with Brady for the least among quarterbacks with 200 or more pass attempts.

Granted, Griffin has fumbled the ball 11 times, so he's not a perfect little angel without faults. Still, when compared to Luck's numbers, Griffin's ability to hang onto the ball bodes well for his future and Washington's present.

 

The Case Against Robert Griffin III

Lack of Playoff Status

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Washington has won four straight games, including three against divisional opponents, but it's likely that the team will have to win out in order to guarantee a playoff berth. The Bears and Seahawks both have one-game leads in the wild-card race, with the Cowboys and Vikings also sitting one game out with 7-6 records.

That means an NFC East crown will be the only way the Redskins can lock up a trip to the playoffs. With the Giants holding a one-game lead, Washington's playoff chances may have been torpedoed by its early-season swoon.

Playing in January is a team reward, but missing out on postseason play may be the thing that haunts Griffin most in the Rookie of the Year chase.

 

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